Game #77 Preview - Flawless Victory

Cam Davie
March 28 2012 12:07PM

There has been a WHOLE lot of this in Canucks/Avs games over the last 3 years.
But don't expect much tonight. The Canucks have changed their game plan.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

Game Day Recon: Game #77 - Avalanche @ Canucks

The big question (well, really the ONLY question) is: "Are the Canucks 'going for it'?" Are they gunning for first in the conference and the league? It is certainly in reach and the possibility is there. But with second place firmly in their grasp and their best winger out with a concussion, is there really much point in going pedal to the medal over the balance of the regular season?

Or, at this point, should they simply be worried about making sure their game is in order for the playoffs with a full complement of healthy players?

I vote for the latter, but tonight the Colorado Avalanche will have much to say about that, since they ACTUALLY have something for which to play.

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The Magical Time Before The Instigator Rule

Jonathan Willis
March 28 2012 10:25AM

Show any hard hit on a star player, or any cheap shot, and someone is bound to talk about the need to dump the instigator rule. They may reference the magical time before the instigator rule was implemented, generally in a ‘back when men were men and rats were hunted down and killed’ sort of way.

It’s self-delusion, of course.

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Prospective First Round Opponents

Thomas Drance
March 27 2012 02:07PM

It's an odd quirk in the Western Conference Standings at the moment, that nine teams are more than 60% likely to make the playoffs at the moment (according to In the battle for the final three spots (and those final three spots are 3rd, 7th and 8th because divisional winners earn an automatic top-3 seed regardless of their record), there are four Pacific Division teams that are currently neck and neck (and neck and neck). Those teams are Los Angeles, Phoenix, San Jose and Dallas - and it's 88% likely that the Canucks will face on of those four clubs in the first round.

So which of those clubs should you be rooting to see end up in the seventh? Click past the jump for more!

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The Legend of Luu Bledsoe (or, who should be the Canucks starter this postseason)?

Thomas Drance
March 27 2012 01:33PM

The relationship between Roberto "Luuu Bledsoe" Luongo and Cory "Schneider-Brady" Schneider has always seemed to be exceedingly supportive and professional. One might even go so far as to call it "chummy." But don't be fooled their eerily similar butterfly styles or their mutual difficulty handling the puck, because when it comes to their respective personalities, they are impossibly dissimilar. Where Cory Schneider is relaxed and as cautious with his choice of words as a politician, none of those adjectives really apply to Luongo. It's what makes him so good at Twitter.

Recently, for the first time, Cory Schneider revealed what's been obvious to anyone with empathy who understands the nature of competitive sports: that he'd like nothing more than to be the Canucks starting goaltender this postseason. Of course, he managed to convey that sentiment diplomatically, but Schneider is a competitor and a stellar performance on a long playoff run could earn him an extra million dollars this offseason (or more). Schneider believes he's good enough now, and so do most Canucks fans and seemingly all of the Vancouver sports media, for that matter.

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Luongo Leads Peasant Rebellion, Recap and Chance Data

Thomas Drance
March 27 2012 12:36AM

Not quite sure what happened here, but the crowd sure liked it.
(Photo by Jeff Vinnick/NHLI via Getty Images)

The Canucks, who play in a city generally well disposed towards the monarchy, toppled the Kings this evening in a hard-fought if offensively challenged affair. The only goal was scored within the first five minutes of puck drop, and came off of the stick of Manny Malhotra, who rarely so much as sniffs the offensive end, for his seventh tally of the year.

Though it was a low-event game that sagged in the second period, it was tightly contested and fraught with intensity. Usually games with so few scoring chances (there were 23 total in the game) bore me, but from my vantage point tonight's game was an excellent tight-checking confection, infused with a helping of playoff-like intensity.

A thorough recap, chance data and the statistical three stars after the jump!

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